Game Recap: Tucson (1) at Gulls (5)

Game #49: Tucson Roadrunners (1) at San Diego Gulls (5)

SOG: TUC (30) – SD (23)

PP: TUC (0/3) – SD (1/4)

TUCSON SCORING: Vlad Kolyachonok (2)

SAN DIEGO SCORING: Rocco Grimaldi (20, 21 PP), Glenn Gawdin (12), Drew Helleson (4), Pavol Regenda (11 EN)


San Diego, California – The Tucson Roadrunners and San Diego Gulls met Tuesday night for the fifth time on the season, as the Gulls came away with a 5-1 win on their home ice at the Pechanga Arena. Defenseman Vlad Kolyachonok lit the lamp for Tucson with 6:27 gone by in the opening frame, evening the score at 1-1 with his second point (1g 1a) in as many contests. Tucson never trailed the Gulls by more than one goal for the opening 35:26, as San Diego secured the win late in the third with a power-play goal and empty-net strike in the final 3:23 of regulation. The Roadrunners will take on the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks three more times this season, with the next two meetings coming on March 3 and 4 at the Tucson Arena. Their current seven-game road trip wraps up Wednesday night from the Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert when they’ll take on the Coachella Valley Firebirds for the final time this season.


Roadrunners defenseman Vlad Kolyachonok found the back of the net 6:27 into Tuesday’s first period for his second goal of the season. The score tied Tucson and San Diego at 1-1 after the Gulls opened the scoring with 3:23 gone by in the contest, while forwards Ben McCartney and Milos Kelemen tallied assists on the goal. Both of the 21-year-old’s goals this season have come against San Diego on the road at the Pechanga Arena, as his previous score was the first of three Tucson goals in the third period on December 17.


EARLY AND OFTEN – Tucson opened Tuesday’s matchup against the San Diego Gulls with 16 total shots on Gulls netminder Gage Alexander in the first period, their most in an opening frame since they recorded a season-high 20 shots in the first 20 minutes against the Chicago Wolves on January 25. The Roadrunners have tallied double-digit shots on goal in eight of their last 13 first periods and have outshot their opponents overall in four of the last five contests.


With his first-period goal on Tuesday against the San Diego Gulls, Tucson blue-liner Vlad Kolyachonok has notched back-to-back outings with a point for the first time this season. In the two games since Roadrunners defensemen Dysin Mayo and Victor Soderstrom were recalled to the NHL by the Coyotes on January 11, Kolyachonok has registered a goal and an assist. The 21-year-old is also one of three Roadrunners skaters to have appeared in all 49 contests so far this season, along with forwards Nathan Smith and J.S. Dea. Kolyachonok appeared in 32 NHL outings last season with the Arizona Coyotes after making his National Hockey League debut on January 12, 2022.


“It was a great play starting with a good breakout, [Kolyachonok] gave me a good pass. It was a good goal, but we must keep going and play better in the D-zone.”

Roadrunners forward Milos Kelemen on defenseman Vlad Kolyachonok’s first-period goal on Tuesday against San Diego. Kelemen and forward Ben McCartney tallied assists on the score, which was Kolyachonok’s second of the season.


The Gulls grabbed a 1-0 lead with a quick goal by their leading scorer Rocco Grimaldi 3:23 into the first period, his 20th of the year. The Roadrunners answered back just over three minutes later with defenseman Vlad Kolyachonok’s second goal of the season to even the contest at 1-1 with 6:27 gone by. The score gave Kolyachonok his second-straight outing with a point after factoring into Mike Carcone’s second-period tally in Abbotsford on Saturday, while Ben McCartney (8) and Milos Kelemen (12) each notched assists on Kolyachonok’s goal. San Diego regained the lead at 2-1 with 4:45 still to play in the opening frame and carried that advantage into the first intermission. Despite trailing by a goal, the Roadrunners outshot the Gulls 16 to seven in the opening 20 minutes, tied for the most in a single period against San Diego on the year with the middle frame on December 22. The Roadrunners once again led the way in shots on goal in the second period with eight shots to San Diego’s six, but it was the Gulls who found the back of the net with 4:34 remaining in the frame to extend their advantage to 3-1 entering the final 20 minutes of play. Tucson kept working in the third period, but a power-play goal by Rocco Grimaldi with 3:23 left in regulation followed by an empty-net score one minute later put away the game for the Gulls with a final score of 5-1. The Roadrunners will conclude their season-long seven-game road trip Wednesday night in Palm Desert with the eighth and final meeting of the season against the Coachella Valley Firebirds.

(Photo Credits: San Diego Gulls)